Dubai: No Visa Overstay Fines for Rain-Cancelled Flight Passengers

Asma Ahmed - | UAE

The UAE introduced streamlined visa regulations in 2023, imposing a fixed penalty of Dh50 per day for overstaying. This measure aimed to provide clarity and consistency regarding fines for individuals exceeding their permitted stay.

However, last week's unprecedented rainfall caused unexpected challenges for residents and visitors, disrupting their exit flights. Adverse weather conditions thwarted Kurt Cervales, a Dubai resident, from his scheduled departure on April 16, which coincided with the end of his 30-day grace period following visa cancellation.

Having resigned from his job without securing a new opportunity before the grace period elapsed, Cervales was apprehensive about incurring overstay fines. His flight with FlyDubai was rescheduled to April 17 due to the inclement weather, only to be canceled again as Dubai International Airport grappled with the aftermath of the record rains. Concerned about the accumulating fines, Cervales prepared to settle the penalty for the six additional days he remained in the country beyond his grace period.

Upon reaching the immigration counter to pay the fine, he was surprised to learn that no payment was required. The adverse weather conditions also extended this exemption from overstay fines to passengers of MRG Pinas Travel. The travel agency confirmed that they waived fines for their customers affected by flight cancellations on April 17, enabling them to depart without financial penalty.

Further clarification from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai revealed that fines were indeed waived for travelers whose flights were disrupted from April 16 to 18. However, beyond this timeframe, no updated directives regarding fine waivers have been issued.

This temporary exemption provided relief to individuals like Cervales, offering leniency in light of unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. As the situation unfolds, affected travelers await further guidance regarding the possibility of fine waivers being extended beyond the initial period of rainfall-induced flight disruptions.

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Asma Ahmed
Asma Ahmed
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